The hard court action will heat up significantly this week in Canada with 1000-level events in Toronto (WTA) and Montreal (ATP), as the players begin a two-week grind that will start at the National Bank Open and finish with the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Let’s have a look at the key talking points for the women in Toronto.
World No.1 and dominant force Iga Swiatek returns to the hard courts for the first time since she won the title at the Miami Open in April. Swiatek, seeded No.1, carries a 19-match hard court winning streak into the tournament, where she will receive a first-round bye before meeting up with either Shelby Rogers or Veronika Kudermetova in the second round.
Swiatek, who has won four of the five WTA-1000 events that have been played in 2022 (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome) has a potential path to the title that looks like this:
Round of 16: 13-seeded Leylah Fernandez
QF: 12-seeded Bencic, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams or 8-seeded Garbine Muguruza (take your pick).
SF: 3-seeded Ons Jaber or 5-seeded Maria Sakkari
F: 2-seeded Anett Kontaveit
Having last played on clay where she had her 18-match winning streak on the surface snapped by Caroline Garcia in the quarterfinals, Swiatek is 48-5 on the season. All eyes will be on the 21-year-old Pole this summer – she can quickly establish herself as the favorite to win the US Open with a strong performance in Toronto.
Venus and Serena Return!
Serena and Venus Williams will both take part in the main draw at Toronto, with both women hoping to find their winning ways after losing their comeback matches earlier this summer.
Serena, who fell to Harmony Tan in the first round of Wimbledon, will open with a qualifier, and could face either Belinda Bencid or Victoria Azarenka in the second round. If things go well for the legendary American, a third-round showdown with Naomi Osaka or Garbine Muguruza lingers.
Serena Williams played the final on her last National Bank Open appearance, falling to Bianca Andreescu in the final in Toronto via retirement.
For Venus, who fell in the first round at the Citi Open to Rebecca Marino last week, and has not won a match on tour since winning in the first round at Wimbledon in 2021, the opening round opponent is the ever tricky Jil Teichmann of Switzerland .
Venus, 42, and Serena 40, are both slated to play at the Western Southern Open next week.
First-round matches we’re excited about
With nine of the top-10 in action this week in Toronto, it’s the first truly big week on tour since Wimbledon. It is a field that includes 15 former Grand Slam champions and eight former or current World No.1 players. Here are some of the mouthwatering opening-round matches that are on the docket.
Naomi Osaka w Kaia Kanepi
 Daria Kasatkina w Bianca Andreescu
 Belinda Bencic w Victoria Azarenka
 Emma Raducanu w Camila Giorgi
Alizé Cornet w Caroline Garcia
Main draw play begins Monday, August 8th in Toronto.